PLP: Cannonier Appointment Is “Poor Judgment”

January 15, 2015

[Updated with OBA response]

“Craig Cannonier’s appointment to the Ministry of Works & Engineering represents extremely poor judgment by Premier Dunkley and an endorsement of the dubious conduct that led to Cannonier’s disgraceful exit from the office of Premier,” the PLP said today.

This follows after today’s [Jan 15] Cabinet shuffle, which saw former Premier Craig Cannonier return to Cabinet as the Minister of Public Works, replacing Patricia Gordon Pamplin who was moved to the Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports; who in turn replaced Wayne Scott who was named the new Minister of Education.

Mr Cannonier being sworn-in today as the new Minister of Public Works


In appointing Mr Cannonier, Premier Dunkley said: “I believe – and I believe most Bermudians believe – that people should get the chance to rebuild and rededicate themselves to what’s important; in this case to public service.

“Craig and I have a good working relationship. We have spent time over the past year and I can say that he has paid a price, that he has prepared himself to serve again, and that he has much to contribute. This is the foundation on which he will take his place at the Cabinet table.”‎

In response, a statement from the PLP said, “Let us not forget:

  • “That Craig Cannonier violated the Ministerial Code of Conduct
  • “That the results of the OBA internal investigation into the $350,000 backroom deal with casino developers was never made public, as was promised by then OBA Chairman Thad Hollis.
  • “That the OBA’s internal investigation into serious allegations of pay to play was sabotaged by the leadership of the OBA who refused to permit OBA Cabinet Ministers to be investigated and led to the resignation of then OBA Chairman Thad Hollis.

The PLP said that Premier Dunkley’s decision to place an individual with unresolved investigations relating to allegations of corruption “at the head of one of the most important Government Ministries, involving millions of dollars in contracts, is foolhardy and reckless and brings into question his own judgement.‬”

Update 6.24pm: In response, OBA Chair Lynne Woolridge said: “The response from the Opposition to the new Cabinet appointments is sadly predictable and simply another attempt to distract the people of Bermuda from the good, solid work this Government is doing.

“It would take more ink than is available on island to list the many missteps and misdeeds of the former Government, but they, in their glass house, see fit to throw stones in their ongoing campaign to mislead the public.

“OBA Parliamentarians are honourable, and conduct themselves in the best interests of Bermuda. Contrary to the Opposition’s claims of recklessness, the Premier has made these appointments after careful consideration and with the support of his colleagues.

“I ask the people of Bermuda not to be distracted, but to support the work this Government is doing to revive the economy, create opportunities for job creation and continue the good work being done in Education to ensure our children are equipped to compete in an increasingly competitive world.”

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Comments (104)

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  1. Politricks says:

    That’s exactly how I feel about Mr. Roban and Mr. Simmons of the PLP.

    • The BIG payback….OBA FAILING ON THIS ONE…Weak choice for a Minister of Education…no matter how you spin it…this makes DUNKLEY look weaker than Craig….ooh…what a laugh…

    • Mockingjay says:

      Using him as the scapegoat for outsourcing and privatization.
      When will he ever learn.

      • frank says:

        The. Guy loves. To be. The fall guy

      • frank says:

        so that why he was at the polls at the last bye election grinning
        this guy just loves to be used

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      It is interesting that they never called for any of their cabinet members to resign at the time, when it was discovered that some were using the BHC to buy and sell properties for their personal gain.
      To date, as reckless, distasteful and irresponsible as I find Mr. Cannonier’s actions were regarding the whole ‘Jetgate’ affair, the only thing that has been shown that anybody involved gained was a campaign contribution, and cost taxpayers nothing. Can that be said for the the ‘BHCgate’ or in more recent matters ‘Port Royalgate’

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        While I don’t necessarily agree with Cannonier’s appointment to PW, it is primarily because I feel the minister involved there should have a good construction/engineering industry project management sense to them.

    • Navin Johnson says:

      Rolfe had some dubious behavior issues that were a little more serious I believe

  2. watching says:

    WOW…hard hitting statement, but one must admit that it is true. This is a very strange appointment from Premier Dunkley.

    • SMH says:

      “Hard hitting statement” yea, that’s because you are probably the one that just released it. Nice try.

      • SMH says:

        Everyone at Alaska Hall is busy clearing their cookie so they can pound those dislike buttons I see.

  3. Cafe Au Lait says:

    I am hopeful that one day the dubious dealings of the PLP will be fully investigated and made public. Further, that any people are sent to jail as appropriate.

    • Todd says:

      Let’s not stop with the PLP. There are enough cases that took place prior to the PLP assuming office that warrants being revisited.

      But that aside, even the most devout OBA supporter must be scratching their head wondering why their party would recycle the ex Premier, and assign him to this portfolio.

      To be clear, I’m not suggesting that he was guilty of any under the table dealings but let’s just say that JetGate had a rather pungent smell to it.

      With that as a backdrop–why, oh why would they place him in this particular Ministry.


      • Hahahah says:

        Maybe because the Premier doesn’t care what you or any voters think. He’s the leader now and Craig has returned. Now get back to work.

    • Navin Johnson says:

      Why do you think they wanted to see the DPP change….ongoing investigations with nothing filed until all I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed… will happen.

      • Mockingjay says:

        This O.B.A/ubp Govt. is a total embarrassment and pathetic.
        And the fools that swayed their vote or didn’t vote at all are kicking themselves in the @$$.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Yet surprisingly, they still present the better option for pulling our country back from the mess that they inherited. Primarily because the PLP still have no belief that were failing and even now, would want us to continue on the path they had set us down, even though that would have meant that there would have been even less money now for government operations like education, health care, pension, public works… and so on. The OBA still has the upper hand as being the lesser of the 2 evils.

        • Northshore says:

          “This OBA/UBP GOVT. ??? lOOK IN THE MIRROR MOCKINGJAY AT YOUR INEPT PLP//UBP/BIU/PC/RUIN THE COUNTRY PARTY !! Keep this up and kick your own @$$ in 2017!

        • God1st says:

          I abstained from voting at the last election,however I can assure you that I will not be voting for the PLP at the next election.

          The progressive Labor party needs to re-brand itself !

    • Jonah says:

      Let’s not stop there. Maybe we can investigate the insider deals that made many an old politician quite wealthy – no great wealth has ever been accumulated without a crime being committed….

  4. Smart Gal says:

    When watching the news story last night I said, “please OBA, don’t be so dumb”.
    But having said this, each and every one of us is supposed to grow and learn from our mistakes. Hopefully Cannonier has atoned for his wayward ways.

  5. Crad Mentality says:

    PLP’s existence is poor judgement.

    • mixitup says:

      You must be a ‘New Bermudian” or one that has a white robe with a pointy head piece in your closet to say that the PLP’s “existence” is poor judgement… Black people would likely still be picking cotton if it weren’t for the PLP’s existance.

      • PackALunch says:

        Since when did the PLP end slavery?

      • bdaboy says:

        when did anyone grow cotton in Bermuda?
        You keep playing the victim/race card and you’ll never move forward.

      • Politricks says:

        You mean the PLP were around in 1834?

        Where were the cotton fields in BDA?

  6. Family Man says:

    It must be pretty cold in hell today because I actually agree with the plp.

    To put a man of, if not questionable morals, at least one with the inability to see a conflict of interest, in charge of multimillion dollar contracts is bizarre.

    • WOW Premier not Craig anyone but Craig says:

      I ticked LIKE on this one! He might be drinking Tea!

      WOW Premier not Craig anyone but Craig.

    • hmmm says:

      Those contracts of that size have to be approved beyond just a single minister.

  7. somuchless says:

    I hope cannonAIR didn’t put his hand on the bible stating that he swears to tell nothing but the truth. lol

  8. Joonya says:

    Not one person of the dreadful PLP should be allowed to use the phrase “Poor Judgement” to criticise anyone other than themselves. Where do they get the b*lls?! Again Plps.. humble yourselves.

    • Todd says:

      The challenge that I have with your argument is that you lump all 14 years into one basket. Make no mistake, the PLP in it’s first few years of power actually reduced the debt and for many years ran a pretty tight ship. Clearly the last years were particularly troublesome and many PLP supporters were equally disgusted as you are with those dark years. The fact that the OBA replaced the PLP supports that fact. You do recognize that the only way that the OBA could have won is for a considerable number of PLP voters to either abstain from voting in the last election or move over to the OBA.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Actually, there wasn’t any debt in those first years, and BHC, Berkley, the sudden need for ministers’ GP cars to be oversized, chief of staffs, daily drivers… that ship was not that tight.

        • Allspice says:

          Actually the PLP came in with a surplus as I recall.
          There was always borrowing but it was properly managed.
          It was the PLP who blew it and they started early and they lost control and they couldn’t stop.
          That’s just how it is. There was no “tight ship.”

        • Happy says:

          It was fine when Eugene Cox was the Minister of Finanace. then it changed in 2004.

        • Danny says:

          Wrong—the PLP inherited a debt of approx $165million and the PLP reduced it in the first few years

          • Creamy says:

            No they didn’t. It remained pretty flat, but it did not reduce.

            Then the walking disasters got control.

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Demonstrable untrue

    • Serious Though says:

      Man deserve a second chance like every other human being. PERIOD!! no apologies need, wake up Bermuda. If your child is convicted of a crime goes to prison for some amount of time, comes out, does he or she deserve a chance, HELL ya, well he is a child of Bermuda irrespective of the party affiliation, so hold the insults, and whatever you have and think, poor judgement on his side and nor poor judgement on second Chance , I think we need some church sermon on this issue, .. Forgiveness for perfecting humanity and welcome fellow human being back from their learning..
      Think about your judgmental altitude and think about your forgiveness altitude.. Raise the bar , make the world a better place, we are need each other …

      • Serious Though says:

        If your are a saint dislike please I adore thee , if human … Well , we are who we are … HUMANS , look around the world what do you make out of it….

      • but does not leave jail as the CEO of any company which is in fact what a Minister is.

  9. Mr. JiF says:

    “Poor Judgment” is the only way to describe appointing a ‘new’ minister, ex disgraced premiere, someone who has shown questionable judgment and naivety amongst a slew of negative qualities in such a position.

    The only sound reason to appoint such a person, in such a position, is if they are and always have been a place holder, a figure head, someone who is simply there to look pretty and collect a check.

    kudos to the puppet … he takes the stage again

    • Bermudian. says:

      It was an IOU.

    • Serious Though says:

      JIF, we accord judgment as human being and that well deserved BUT , the best part of judgement looks like , Apostle Paul , it’s a God duty to judge human redemption , hold on, even when it seems , not in favor of judgement .
      Paul was a lawyer and a prosecutor during the early years of Christianity, think about 1 Corinthian chapter 13, he went back to people he had prosecuted asked for their trust… Redemption, and the rest is history, let’s be fair and be naive but call upon us among us to be us Among us to change the future for all of us..

      • Mockingjay says:

        Would you give responsibility to a Novice (1Tim3:5-6) or a suspected child molester care over children !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Redemption comes with TIME and ACCOUNTABILTY

        • SMH says:

          Would you elect someone to Government who Tweeting publically on several occasions about what he did. Oh, you did. Now you think a guy shouldn’t be an Minister because he took a ride on a private jet? SMH

  10. Terry says:

    Clue me in.
    Who lost their post as a Minister.

    Or have they created a new one.
    Lost in the Bermuda Tryhangle….

    • watching says:

      there is a new Minister, hence another 100K out of the purse.

    • Not Surprised says:

      Dr. Gibbons left to focus on the America’s Cup, hence the vacancy

      • frank says:

        So the he minister of education. Will not need a Jr.minister so good bye to Leah.

      • inna says:

        You guys like the word hence huh?

  11. God 1st says:

    How can JS be an elected official after those tweets ?

    That is how I feel about JS.

    • mixitup says:

      The same way Shawn Crockwell can be the countries Minister of Tourism.

      • God 1st says:

        Shawn Crockwell was punished and incarcerated for his crime .Jahmel Simmons wasn’t even charged for his offence .

        On to of that he has very little to offer himself or the country. He doesn’t create jobs,he talks about doing for self yet he doesn’t own any businesses .

        • Cafe Au Lait says:

          The real reason hat JS was voted in is because the voters in 33 were too stupid to know any better. Sad but true.

  12. SMH says:

    Alaska Hall must have sent an sos message out to all their paid bloggers to get started. How pathetically predictable. I guess they all got the week off when the report on Port Royal came out. SMH

    • Oh please look in the mirror says:

      SOS Bloggers needed ASAP at Alaska Hall. Integrity not required

    • Todd says:

      The challenge that I have with your argument is that you lump all 14 years into one basket. Make no mistake, the PLP in it’s first few years of power actually reduced the debt and for many years ran a pretty tight ship. Clearly the last years were particularly troublesome and many PLP supporters were equally disgusted as you are with those dark years. The fact that the OBA replaced the PLP supports that fact. You do recognize that the only way that the OBA could have won is for a considerable number of PLP voters to either abstain from voting in the last election or move over to the OBA.

  13. just wondering says:

    once again – as so many times before – I find myself torn – the message (or issue) itself is valid – namely how can you reappoint someone given his track record – HOWEVER – the source of that criticism is impossible to countenance – how can the PLP with a (supposedly) straight face be the ones to raise this issue? The most recent by-election is demonstrative of their own hypocrisy. Sometimes they might want to wait until others (who don’t have their feet in their mouths) say something before jumping in.

    • Todd says:

      There are sufficient members of the PLP that have a credible right to question that decision. If we use your argument than we should question any Black persons decision to support the UBP or now the OBA. Where does history start and end for you?

  14. swing voter says:

    poor judgment? talk about the pot calling the kettle black! c u in 3 years fellas

  15. clearasmud says:

    It is always interesting when bloggers imply that the PLP should not be commenting on wha the OBA does when the reality is that is exactly what we pay them as opposition to do! I have to say that the education appointment is the most troubling for me and it is time to do away with the Ministry and replace it with an Education Authority that is not subject to Politics! If as claimed it is good for tourism to not have the political interference than it should be good for education!

    • Sad says:

      Absolutely agree with te education authority idea.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Oh come on Alaska hall??? 11 likes on something you posted in 5 mins??? You lot are pathetic!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA

  16. kangoocar says:

    I would have thought that Min Cannonier would have been better suited as Tourism Minister?? At this time I will ignore the nonsense that is being spewed by the very party ( plp) that ” endorsed dubious behaviour by themselves, almost daily during their reign of terror!!! Roban, resignation/reinstatement 6 months later comes to mind as just one of the many dubious behaviors of the plp!!!

  17. Sky Pilot says:

    plp calling the pot black!

  18. Full moon in Paradise says:

    …PLP statement is a mirror image of the conduct of their own party members……Yeah! Talkin bout the kettle calling the pot bl…k. Bring on the investigation DPP!

  19. Dylan says:

    interesting isn’t it
    People in Glass houses shouldn’t throw Stones
    Hey anyone heard from Zane Desilva …..not since the Port Royal disclosure….wow he was on Tv every other night until then… he still in the PLP ….with 13 of them they can still play tag team and who is not being investigated can call a press conference….wont be long….BTW is Marc Bean still leader he has been quite quiet after the charges of his disgraceful rants on the OBA’s ladies.

    • SMH says:

      Is there still a police investigation going on with Marc Beans betting shop allegedly selling illegal tickets? Glass houses throwing stones again

  20. Triangle Drifter says:

    If there was any group that can quickly recognise poor judgement it would be the PLP.

    14 years of poor judgement & look where they got us.

    • MAKE MY DAY says:

      14 years of making the $$$ disappear!!! And still NO in-depth investigations – amazing what you can get-away with these days!! As for Cannonier – he is still in the “good old boys network”!!

  21. sebring says:

    the end is near!!!!! PLP makin sense!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bad move placing Craig in a ministry!!!!

    He should have taking his place with all the other failed politicians from the ubp within the PLP!!!!!

  22. Bermuda123 says:

    The main benefit to this is to reduce the responsibilities of Grant Gibbons which is long overdue. Who amongst us would not say that Economic Development (.to bring prosperity back and build employment) and Education (investing in the future) are not the most important things. Finally Grant can focus on just one of these. We should all be thanking him for having carried both for so long.

    • Mike Oxard says:

      Absolutely, you can’t have those jobs without money to pay for them .
      The funny part is , the opposition knows this , yet they keep trying to separate black and white.

  23. Real says:

    Zane desilva has a lot of experience in construction! Still finding it hard to see why he ended up minister of health !?!? Doctor brown has loads of experience in health find it hard to see why he was the minister of tourism!?!?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      More money in tourism that can be fudged around and better travel perks.

      • Navin Johnson says:

        Health has benefits too. Generically speaking of course

  24. somuchless says:

    I vote NANDI as the Works Minister. Better fit hahahaha

    • frank says:

      Looks like Kenny will again. Be sitting. In. The back. Ro

  25. Redeemed says:

    Redemption is a noble theme. Craig was sacked because he mishandled the truth. Yet there is an ethos in the OBA which should be examined and considered worthy. That is the selfless theme of redemption among themselves. It signals a and commitment to each other with a view of redemption if one falls. Consider the support that they have given Shawn Crockwell over the years. There is nothing really notable about Wayne Scott and his past personal record has much to be desired. Yet the OBA has shown hope in the midst of our darkness.
    I think Mr. Dunkley understands the shame and embarrassment, that Craig will carry for the rest of his life as the most high profile public failure in the history of the country. Mr. Dunkley unlike any PLP leader that I know of took a risk because of his ability to see beyond the fault and instead to see the need of a fellow politician and friend. Mr Dunkley is risking political capital for a noble virtue called redemption.

    Now this is leadership at its best. Give them a chance and Craig it is up to you to respect the public and respect your leader and OBA family because they really are going out on a limb here for you! Especially since your would not have won that opportunity if the public had to choose.
    Consider yourself redeemed.

    Yeah, it looks bad, yeah I agree that Mr. Dunkley could have done otherwise and pursued a more selfish interest and picked someone else but this says something about the character of Mr. Dunkley and the ethos of the OBA. Perhaps if this culture of hope, sense of respect and theme of redemption can permeate the society we can be better off as a people. After all we all have fallen short of the glory in so many places. I think it is worthy of noticing that here a white man gives a black man a second chance it says a lot about the possibilities for our future. And NO! I am not a OBA blogger rather

    • Impressive says:

      Wow,,, you should be writing Drama plots,, Hollywood could use you.

  26. charlie says:

    at the end of the day, PLP you are the biggest disappointment we had, or will have. Let the OBA do what they have to do and you take your 500 strong supporters and go somewhere. Let good things happen in Bermuda for once, alright?

  27. Cleancut says:

    The only wrong doing Craig is guilty of, is resigning, that should have never happened. The OBA were cornered by the devious PLP.

  28. Sandgrownan says:

    To be fair, if anyone knows about poor judgement, it’s the PLP.

  29. Really!?….and Ewart was your first choice?…..or Zane?….neither one!….should ever hold publick office…..

  30. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    At least the man is willing to make a effort, while some of you sit on the wall and complain.

    • There but for the grace... says:

      Serving in the public sphere ain’t easy. We are all flawed as humans. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, I welcome all this discussion and scrutiny. Keep paying attention. And if you want to find out what you’re really made of, run for (and if you’re lucky, hold) elected office.

  31. When I consider plps choices….Craige looks like a boondock saint….

  32. The Underground Movement says:

    The PLP claim “poor Judgement” – but I believe it could be fear — yep fear of revenge!
    CC didn’t do that bad – not as bad as the PLP made him out to be – the Jet Gate thing could and would never be as bad as one former Premier sneaking illegal people here to live and no one except a small click new of it.
    After CC ‘s Jet Gate affair I think he has learned his lesson.— Premier Dunkley has to give him somthing — he knows to much.
    Just as CC built the OBA he could also destroy it too.
    Hey PLP the advise that your leader is taking from DB is bad judgement too.

  33. Sara says:

    Here are the facts: We all know there were shady things done under the UBP as well as the PLP. The HUGE difference that PLP supporters need to understand is that the PLP didn’t properly balance there budget or heed the warnings of a looming economic crisis and “tighten their belts”. They said the opposition was fear mongering and that Bermuda would not be affected so they continued to spend wildly to the point of crippling debt. I FIRMLY believe that had they heeded the warnings of a looming economic crisis that the government at the time would have been well positioned to handle the crisis because at the time Bermuda had more than enough money coming in from a prosperous economy. You can go back and forth all year long but these facts will never change. Bad math is bad math and numbers don’t lie.

  34. Lawry says:

    Same Old PLP, Same Old UBP; ‘A plague on both your Houses.’

  35. joe blo says:

    Bad choice, we have to listen to this guys lies, sh–. Won’t take questions , won’t answer buy reporter, and if he don’t like them walks out of press conferences, please give us a break. Loss all respect for Premier Dunkly.

  36. C James says:

    Craig ascended to Premiership by default. He was not ready. He took bad advice and got in hot water over the handling of a situation where clearly no law was broken. He took responsibility for this by resigning.

    Name any PLP MP who has taken responsibility in any way for the reign of terror they inflicted on this island. For the supposedly unethical but apparently not illegal things they did.

    Look in the mirror PLP. You people are the true definition of disgusting.

    I’m willing to see how Craig does before throwing him to the dogs. Several cohorts are lucky not to be locked up for what they did. I for one hope it gets exposed at some point, and those responsible taken to court and thrown in jail.

    However, the worst offender will still get off unscathed – thankfully he doesn’t live here anymore – he went back ‘home’ so we don’t have to see him everyday. Thank goodness.

  37. clearasmud says:

    Not one OBA supporter has offered any valid reason why the public should be accepting of the former Premier becoming a cabinet minister. Not one person has spoken to the benefit of this appointment. Clearly it is not his decision making skills! Mr Dunkley has given us a valid reason for the appointment of the Education Minister but has chosen to not address why or how he thinks that Craigs appointment will benifit the country. Also the OBA committed to reducing the size of Cabinet and yet here they are increasing it!

  38. bdaboy says:

    bring back ewart…he knows how to handle your money ….wink wink

  39. Poor Judgement says:

    I have to agree with you all on this one. This is probably the worst decision Mr. Dunkley has made to date. I do hope it does not come back to haunt him. Although, I will also say that I agree people do deserve a second chance, although I am not sure this is the right place to give it.